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Being a Thresher means being involved in a great community, one with great academic and athletic programs.
Jessica Muckenthaler ’12

Timeline

1880s

Ad Building

Bethel’s beginnings were in the Emmental School near what is now Goessel, Kan., and the Halstead (Kan.) Seminary. In 1887, the charter was filed to start Bethel College. The Administration Building cornerstone was laid Oct. 12, 1888 (right).

1877
  • Dec. 14: first meeting of Kansas Conference
1882
  • Sept. 14: Emmental school opens
1883
  • Sept. 17: Halstead Seminary opens
1886
  • Newton Street Railway organized
1887
  • May 23: Bethel College charter filed
1888
  • Oct. 12: Administration Building cornerstone laid

1890s

Ad Building

The Administration Building (right) was dedicated Sept. 20, 1893, and classes began. Cornelius H. Wedel became the first president of Bethel College.

1890
  • Nov. 20: Newton Street Railway discontinued
1893
  • Sept. 20: Administration Building dedicated; classes begin
1896
  • September: Art department established, along with the first Bible Institute and Evangelists’ Course
1898
  • September: Commercial department and Department of Elocution and Physical Culture established
1899
  • Normal Training Course started

1900s

Maroon and gray were adopted as the school colors. A gift from Carnegie was used to build a women’s dormitory. Goerz House (right), the first private residence on the campus, was built in 1893.

1907
  • Maroon and gray selected as college colors
  • April 17: gift from Andrew Carnegie for women’s dormitory received
1908
  • Publication of first annual (yearbook), Echoes
1909
  • Curriculum becomes departmentalized
  • First Baccalaureate service is held in May

1910s

During this decade, the four-year college course was introduced and the first class graduated. Agriculture classes and intercollegiate football became a part of Bethel. The interurban line reached campus (right), connecting the college to the city of Newton.

1910
  • First student handbook published
  • August: J. H. Langenwalter becomes acting president
1911
  • Four-year college course introduced
  • Bethel College’s first song published
  • Sept. 12: J. W. Kliewer assumes presidency
1912
  • First class graduates
  • First organization of faculty committees
  • Electric power and water mains extended to campus
1913
  • Agricultural courses introduced
  • Oct. 25: Interurban line reaches campus
1915
  • First intercollegiate basketball game
1916
  • Feb. 29: “Alma Mater” adopted as official college song
1917
  • Home economics department established
  • First intercollegiate football game
1918
  • January: First issue of student paper, Bethel Breeze, published
  • September: Teaching of German language temporarily suspended

1920s

Several presidents held office during this period, including J.E. Hartzler, J.H. Langenwalter and J.W. Kliewer, who was selected for a second term. The college held its first homecoming and added the Science Hall to its campus (right).

1920
  • June 4: J. E. Hartzler assumes presidency
  • Bible school division established
1921
  • Bethel Breeze becomes Bethel Collegian
  • J. H. Langenwalter elected president
1922
  • June 6: First homecoming held
1924
  • Oct. 12: Science Hall cornerstone laid
1924-25
  • Science Hall erected
1925
  • J. W. Kliewer begins second term as president
1926
  • Interurban line to Bethel discontinued

1930s

The college acquired the dairy adjacent to the college (right). The Women’s Association and the historical library and archives were established, and Bethel received accreditation through the North Central Association.

1932
  • E. G. Kaufman assumes presidency
  • Western District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church affirms support for Bethel as a liberal arts college
  • Bethel dairy established
1934
  • Spring: Women’s Association organized
  • Addition of college farm and equipment
  • June: Office of public relations established
  • August: Print shop added
  • College motto adopted: “Bethel College Building Character”
1935
  • September: Commerce department established
  • October: News Service established
  • First Buffalo Barbecue
1936
  • Spring: Chimes tower completed
  • Historical Library and Archives established
1938
  • Oct. 12: Cornerstone of Memorial Hall laid
  • April 7: Bethel accredited through North Central Association
1939
  • September: Quarter system introduced

1940s

Ad Building

Kauffman Museum became part of the Bethel campus. Franz Shop was dedicated, and the library cornerstone laid (right).

1940
  • Summer: Kauffman Museum acquired
1942
  • Alumni Office created
  • March 23: Memorial Hall dedicated
1947
  • November: Franz Shop dedicated
1948
  • Cornerstone laying for new library

1950s

Two new dormitories were built on campus, Goering Hall (right) and the Women’s Residence Hall (later named Haury). The college produced its first opera and began an exchange program with the Bergische-Universität-Gesamthochschule-Wuppertal in Germany

1950
  • Aug. 17: Menno Simons Lectureship established
1951
  • April 2: Kidron Kottage dedicated
1952
  • Oct. 12: D. C. Wedel inaugurated as president
  • August: Annual faculty retreats begin
1953
  • Jan. 30: Move-in day for new library
  • First opera performed at Bethel, The Secret Life of Menno Hansheimer
1954
  • Sept. 21: Groundbreaking for Goering Hall
  • Wuppertal Exchange Program begins
1956
  • First KCAC Men’s Basketball Championship
1957
  • April 2: Construction of Women’s Residence Hall (later called Haury Hall) begins; dedication Oct. 13, 1958
1959
  • May 19: First Thresher Award given

1960s

With the changing of the mascot, the Bethel College Graymaroons became Threshers. Dancing was finally allowed on campus, and the first commercial food service was hired. The Fine Arts Center was built, along with the brick walkway between it and the Administration Building (right).

1960
  • Jan. 17: Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks at Bethel as part of Mem Hall Lecture Series
  • Vernon Neufeld accepts presidency
1961
  • Radio station established
  • Name of yearbook,Graymaroon, changed to The Thresher
1962
  • Goering Hall addition completed
  • December: Haury Hall addition completed
1963
  • Oct. 13: Fine Arts Center groundbreaking held
1966
  • Orville Voth becomes president
1966
  • Associated Colleges of Central Kansas (ACCK) established
  • Feb. 6: Fine Arts Center dedicated
  • Summer: Brick walk between Fine Arts Center and Ad Building laid
  • Aug. 9: College dairy buildings and equipment auctioned
  • Nov. 11: Peace Club protests Vietnam War
1967
  • Oct. 15: Warkentin Court (mods) dedicated
  • Women’s Residence Hall renamed Haury Hall in honor of Linda Krehbiel Haury
  • On-campus dancing approved
1968
  • First commercial food service hired
1969
  • Vietnam Moratorium (bell tolls for the dead)

1970s

Annual Fall Festival celebrations began. Two new structures were added, Thresher Gymnasium and Schultz Student Center. Harold Schultz (right, ringing bell) became president.

1971
  • Harold J. Schultz inaugurated president
  • First Fall Festival
1972
  • Social work department established
1974
  • Senior orals discontinued
  • Peace studies department established
1977
  • Oct. 7: Thresher Gym cornerstone laid; Schultz Student Center groundbreaking held
  • Dec. 3: Lady Threshers basketball team are first to play in new gym
1979
  • Jan. 2: Student Center open for student use; dedication Feb. 25
  • Nursing department established

1980s

The Mantz Library was built, as well as a new maintenance shop. KIPCOR (Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution) was established. The college celebrated 100 years of educating students and appeared on Good Morning America (right).

1981
  • Campus Granary opens
1983
  • Oct. 8: Reopening of Kauffman Museum in new building
1984-87
  • Centennial development drive and celebrations
1985
  • New maintenance shop dedicated
  • Dobson pipe organ installed in chapel
  • April 20: Mantz Library groundbreaking
  • Nov. 1: Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) established
1986
  • Oct. 5: Mantz Library dedication
1987
  • Sept. 25: ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” visits campus to mark Bethel centennial year

1990s

John Zehr was inaugurated president. Schmidt Track was completed. Doug Penner (right – on the right in the photo, with Orville Voth) assumed the presidency.

1991
  • John E. Zehr becomes president
1994
  • Schmidt Track completed
1995
  • Douglas A. Penner becomes president
1999
  • April 26: Voth Hall groundbreaking held

2000s

Voth Hall became the newest residence hall. Krehbiel Science Center (right) and Thresher Sports Complex were completed.

2000
  • May 20: Krehbiel Science Center groundbreaking
  • Oct. 7: Voth Hall dedicated
2002
  • June: Bethel alumni publication changes name from Bulletin to Context
  • Oct. 12: Krehbiel Science Center dedicated
  • Oct. 13: E. LaVerne Epp inaugurated president
2004
  • Sept. 6: Thresher Sports Complex groundbreaking held
2006
  • Oct. 8: Barry C. Bartel inaugurated president

2010s

Perry White (right, with pink stole) began as Bethel’s 14th president. Discovery Adventure Course and Sand Creek Community Gardens became part of the Bethel campus.

2010
  • Discovery Adventure Course completed
  • Sand Creek Community Gardens opens with 32 plots
  • Oct. 9: Ward Tennis Center dedicated
  • Oct. 10: Perry D. White inaugurated president
2011
  • Renovation of old Science Hall into new Academic Center begins
  • Bethel is the only private liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top U.S. colleges and universities
  • Solar collectors installed on Voth Hall roof
  • Sand Creek Trail on campus designated a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of Interior